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A year after Dobbs, abortion pill litigation gives painful reminder

Remember: We’re still awaiting a ruling from the 5th Circuit on mifepristone. The Supreme Court unleashed this mess, and it may have to clean it up again.


On the shameful Dobbs anniversary, it’s worth recalling that the ruling was built on a lie — namely, the notion of simply returning abortion decisions to the states, where people could supposedly vote on the issue instead of judges deciding. Leaving aside that overturning Roe v. Wade demolished a decades-old right and caused untold pain and suffering in the process, the flowery-sounding democratic logic just hasn’t borne out.

Look no further than the fringe abortion litigation that’s still unfolding a year later.

Indeed, it wasn’t a humble elected representative, but rather an anti-abortion fanatic and Donald Trump-appointed judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, who took it upon himself in April to suspend Food and Drug Administration's approval of mifepristone, a commonly used abortion pill. As I wrote at the time, “For judges like Kacsmaryk, the Dobbs ruling didn’t return the abortion issue to the states — it placed health care in the hands of right-wing jurists to outlaw by any means necessary.”

Of course, as we know now, Kacsmaryk’s deranged order hasn’t taken effect, but that’s only after intense litigation — including at the U.S. Supreme Court — that remains ongoing. We’re still waiting on the latest step, a decision from the right-wing 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard oral arguments in May.

Thus, depending on the 5th Circuit outcome, the case could return to the Supreme Court, where the GOP majority could be confronted anew with the wreckage it wrought.

All the while, Republicans haven’t been satisfied to merely bask in their long-fought victory of overturning Roe. Rather, they’ve been on the offensive, pushing toward the ultimate goal of banning abortion outright.

The Supreme Court’s Republican majority may have deluded itself into thinking, or at least claiming, that it was settling the matter — but as the year since has proved, and as anyone paying attention all along knew, it was only the latest battle in the abortion war.

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